At Heiting & Irwin, we advise Californians involved in a car crash caused by another person to take photographs at the scene of the crash so long as they are able to do so without causing another person’s physical safety or their own safety to be jeopardized. Some may wonder, however, just how important these photographs actually are to the resolution of their Riverside car crash. The answer depends on the quality and quantity of the photographs themselves.
Taking Good Photographs After a California Car Crash
Photographs in a car crash case preserve a crucial moment in time for your attorney and any experts who may be needed to evaluate your crash. The old adage is true: While your words and statements can paint a picture of the accident’s aftermath, a picture truly is worth a thousand words (see, for example, this case).
However, the usefulness of the photographs you take will depend on both the quantity and quality. In general, it is always advisable to take photographs of the car crash scene. However, these photographs may not be of much help to your attorney if they are not of sufficient quality. Quality photographs that are most helpful include those that:
You should also take care to ensure these photographs are properly archived so that you always have a copy available to you in the event other copies become lost, damaged, or destroyed.
Do Not Take Photographs if Doing So Jeopardizes Your Safety
While photographs can be extremely helpful in increasing your chances of recovering compensation in your case, you must not jeopardize your own safety or cause further injury to yourself or anyone else just to take photographs. Not only will this exacerbate your losses, but it can negatively impact your ability to recover full compensation.
As soon as possible, contact Heiting & Irwin for further assistance and representation. Heiting & Irwin is a Riverside car crash law firm committed to helping those injured in collisions caused by the negligent actions of others. We use any photographs our clients are able to take along with our knowledge and investigative resources to build a powerful and persuasive case for compensation for our clients. Let us help you or your loved one obtain monetary damages for your injuries by calling (951) 682-6440. Alternatively, you can complete our online form for assistance.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben124/
Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Local Attorney
Nobody ever really wants to hire a lawyer, but the reality is that at some point you'll need to hire one. The problem is that if you've never hired an attorney, and you have no frame of reference, where do you look for one? The answer is almost always going to be to hire locally. We've written before on how to choose the best attorney for your case, but why does it matter if you hire a local San Bernardino or Riverside lawyer versus an attorney from Los Angeles or Orange County?
Here are the top 5 reasons to hire a local lawyer
There's a trend that's been taking place in the last several years. Law firms from Los Angeles and Orange County have been setting up "Satellite" offices in the Inland Empire so they can have a local telephone number and office address to give the impression that they're a local firm and appear in the local business section of Google, but there's usually no one there to staff it. Often times their "local" office is little more than a desk, printer and a telephone. So when you need to see your lawyer, they would have to drive in from Downtown Los Angeles or Irvine to meet you. How often do you really think that happens? Local lawyers are typically more accessible because you can drop something off at their office and leave it with their staff, stop by if you have a question or concern, or make an appointment that isn't limited to one afternoon on the only day the attorney is in town.
2) Local attorneys usually know the local judges, courtroom cadence and opposing lawyer
When you hire an attorney outside of the Inland Empire, that individual may have never met the judge they'll be appearing before, they may not know their personality, behavior, likes & dislikes or the way they run their courtroom. Local attorneys attend local mixers, conferences and social events and get the opportunity to develop a rapport with judges and other local attorneys. This should not be misconstrued as a judge favoring a local lawyer, but it's easier for an attorney to prepare and position your case if they know the personalities of the judge and the opposing attorney. Hiring an attorney who's never met the judge assigned to your case or the opposing counsel, and who doesn't know the local courtroom flow may be considered to be at a slight disadvantage.
3) Local attorneys invest, spend and hire locally
An article from Entrepreneur says "Local business owners often have incentive to support other local businesses, patronizing local establishments for both business and personal reasons." Local attorneys are your neighbors and they tend to hire local support staff, pay local taxes, shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and hire local service providers. When you hire a lawyer from Orange County or Los Angeles, the dollars you spend supports their local community.
4) Many local attorneys are just as qualified for "big cases"
Among some people, there's a perception that you'll get a better result for your case if you hire a "Los Angeles" attorney. While it's true that Los Angeles has some of the best legal talent in the country, chances are good that your case can be equally represented by a well qualified local attorney. Furthermore, there's a chance that the hourly or fixed rate for a local attorney will be far less than a lawyer paying premium rent & overhead for a Los Angeles or Newport Beach office.
5) Reduced Out-of-Pocket Costs
When you hire an attorney the travel costs affiliated with your case are incurred and charged to you. That can include:
If you need to hire a lawyer, the best way to validate that your actually hiring locally is by verifying with the California State Bar of the address on file for an attorney. InlandEmpireLawyers.com has already done this for you by allowing only verified local attorneys to be listed within our directory. This way, you can be assured that the attorney you contact is genuinely local to San Bernardino & Riverside County. Whether you're looking to hire an attorney in Palm Springs or Claremont, feel free to use our site to find the legal help you need.
When a uniformed San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy or a private process server personally serves you with divorce papers, you might experience a flood of emotions that include anxiety about the future. Few events have the impact of a marital dissolution because it impacts so many aspects of your life, including your parenting relationship, monthly income, net worth, and future financial security. Many people do not anticipate they will be involved in a divorce, so they are unsure how to protect their rights and safeguard their relationship with their children. The actions you take in the aftermath of receiving a Summons and Petition for Marital Dissolution in San Bernardino or Riverside County can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your divorce. In this blog post, our Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyers offer a list of important steps to take if you are served with divorce papers in the Inland Empire.
Carefully Review the Paperwork
The first paperwork people typically receive in a divorce include a Summons and Petition along with some ancillary documents. The Summons (California divorce form FL-110) will indicate that you have thirty days to respond to the Petition (California divorce form FL-100) if you wish to participate in the divorce process. If your divorce is heard in San Bernardino family court or another courthouse in San Bernardino or Riverside Counties, you might also receive notice of an Order to Show Cause. If you receive this document, you should make sure to calendar the court date and seek immediate legal advice. The hearing will be to consider temporary orders (also called “pendente lite” orders) that could involve child custody or visitation, spousal support, temporary possession of your residence, child support, attorney fee advances, and other important issues.
The Summons also includes Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROS). ATROS are mutual orders that are summarized on the back of the Summons of a Petition for Dissolution. ATROS are restraining orders that restrict the conduct of both parties. These restraining orders are designed to prevent either party from taking actions that will prejudice the other spouse by diverting, encumbering, transferring, concealing or disposing of assets, including insurance policies. ATROS also prohibit a parent from removing minor children from the state without the prior written consent of the other parent. Violation of these orders can carry harsh penalties, so you should seek legal advice before engaging in significant financial transactions or relocating your children.
Speak to an Experienced Inland Empire Divorce Lawyer
Many people will make the mistake of attempting to prepare their own Response and to proceed without an attorney (referred to as proceeding “pro per”). The way you respond to a Petition and Order to Show Cause can have a profound impact on your parenting relationship, finances, property ownership, obligations to pay debts, and living arrangements. Further, parties that attempt to handle their own divorce while their spouse is represented by legal counsel tend to experience undesirable outcomes because the attorney can exploit the unrepresented party’s lack of knowledge regarding court procedures, evidentiary rules, and substantive law.
Even if you believe you and your spouse have resolved most of your issues, an attorney can ensure that your proposed settlement is enforceable, identify any potential pitfalls, and draft the necessary paperwork to obtain your judgment. There are many mistakes that can cause a proposed settlement to go off the rails when parties proceed without attorneys. Sometimes parties will attempt to fashion a settlement based on terms that are not enforceable under California law, such as parents attempting to waive child support. In other situations, the parties might not consider unforeseen issues that make their agreement unfair or unworkable. Further, artful drafting of an MSA or parenting plan by an experienced Southern California divorce lawyer can prevent future disputes and repeated trips back to court for enforcement or modification proceedings.
File a Response or Default
If you fail to respond, the divorce can proceed without your involvement, which means your spouse will likely obtain a judgment consistent with his or her requests (referred to as a “default divorce” or “uncontested divorce”). If you have already resolved all of the issues in your divorce with your spouse, you might elect to allow the divorce to proceed via default. However, you should not allow your divorce to proceed on a default basis without speaking to an experienced Southern California divorce lawyer. Default only constitutes a viable option if no assets or debts have been acquired during the marriage. If the parties have children, a default divorce will not be appropriate because you will want to be involved in decisions regarding parenting time, decisions about major parenting issues, and child support. Divorces that proceed via default also tend to be brief (e.g. a few months duration) so that spousal support is not at issue.
In most cases, you will want to respond within the required time by filing a Response (Form FL-120). The response permits you to indicate your preferences in broad terms regarding child custody and visitation, property division, spousal support, child support, and related issues. The Response also allows you to indicate that you want separate property confirmed to you or that you have a different perspective regarding the facts or outcome of your divorce.
Post-Response Proceedings: Once you have filed a Response, your marital dissolution will proceed to a conclusion along one of two paths. If you and your spouse resolve all of your issues, you can prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) which will memorialize the terms of your settlement. The MSA will become a key part of the judgment in your marital dissolution. If you do not reach an agreement, the judge will make orders on unresolved issues. Some temporary orders will be entered during Show Cause hearings while others might be resolved at a Court Conference. The judge can resolve any matters during a trial that are not settled by the parties.
Special Note for Divorcing Parents: When parents divorce, the process is far more complicated. Both parents must participate in mediation in an attempt to reach an agreement on legal custody and parenting time. If the parents cannot agree, the judge might order an attorney to represent the children (referred to as “minor's counsel”). Minor’s counsel will make recommendations to the court regarding the appropriate custody and visitation orders. The judge also might decide that a Child Custody Evaluation must be performed. During this process, the evaluator will meet with both parents and the children and conduct an investigation to determine the best interest of the children. The report and recommendations will carry significant weight with the judge, so parents should make sure they speak to an experienced Inland Empire divorce lawyer about preparing for a custody evaluation. The divorce process becomes especially perilous for parents involved in a child custody dispute without legal representation.
If you have been served with divorce papers in San Bernardino or Riverside Counties, our experienced Inland Empire family lawyers at Schwartzberg & Luther, APC are committed to providing effective legal representation to pursue the best outcome for you and your children. Contact Schwartzberg & Luther, APC at (909) 457-4270 to schedule your free consultation!
Schwartzberg | Luther are attorneys in Rancho Cucamonga focusing on family & divorce law, criminal defense, personal injury and insurance bad faith. Working with clients throughout Southern California and all courts in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
You may have stumbled across this article because you have no idea where to turn to find the best lawyer for your case. It seems that every attorney's website proclaims that THEY'RE the firm with the best track record and best results. Did you expect their website to say anything else? I've written before on strategies to choose your lawyer, which is a little different than starting the process to initially vet your lawyer... after all, before you talk to your potential attorney how do you research them to make sure they're even worth your time?
In this article we've listed, in no particular order of importance, the top ways to thoroughly research your lawyer before you pick up the phone, and more importantly their relevance to your decision making process.
It's important that you not put too much weight on any one website over another, but look for reliable, consistent and credible information.
Martindale-Hubbell - This is the oldest directory and peer review rating system in the U.S. Most lawyers know about it, but most people looking for an attorney for the first time have never heard of it. Although many lawyers now consider Martindale-Hubbell out dated and "passé", it still has arguably one of the best methods for attorneys to rate other attorneys (also referred to as "peer reviews"): Highest - "AV Preeminent", Middle - "Distinguished", Lowest - "Notable". (Here's their methodology). It's important to note that most attorneys are not rated at all, so technically a non-rated attorney could potentially be a much better lawyer than even the highest rated attorneys. A lawyer must request or be nominated to participate, and some simply don't like the outcome. To add a bit to the confusion, some incredible attorneys choose to opt out of the process altogether. This could easily be the topic of a entirely separate blog.
Yelp - This one is a bit obvious to some, but not to others. Most people think of Yelp to find a great restaurant, but not necessarily an awesome lawyer. If you look through the reviews you can get a good sense of how an attorney interacts with their clients. Most people who've hired an attorney and had a bad experience have no problem tossing their attorney-client privilege by publicly complaining about it. However, take these with a grain of salt. When a case involves someone's freedom, family or money people can become vindictive if the result is less than perfect - even when their lawyer did everything possible to get them an excellent result. Not to mention that anyone can write a Yelp review, and the person writing the review might have been the defendant in a case pursued by the plaintiff's attorney they're rating - just to be spiteful and harm their practice.
Avvo - Avvo is a more popular directory and rating system among lawyers. It's very easy for a lawyer to publicly rate another lawyer, and for clients to post reviews. However, their interface is very long to scroll through and, it's our opinion that their peer review system is incredibly easy to game and manipulate. For instance there are some lawyers that have hundreds of reviews and endorsements from other attorneys... hundreds. Do you think lawyers like each other that much? If you look closely and long enough, you'll find that a pattern emerges and some attorneys have "traded" positive peer endorsements to help boost their individual rating, (read one lawyer's excellent rant here). So while we think their rating system is less than credible, it makes up a "spoke of the wheel" in finding a lawyer to talk to.
California Bar Profile - Every attorney must maintain a public profile with their official name, address and telephone number. Also, their profile will disclose if they were ever disciplined for misconduct, suspended or disbarred. Although this won't give you any ratings or reviews, you can at least see if they've ever had trouble with the state Bar.
Google - Duuuh. Seriously, if you do a name search and add the words "complaint", "review" or "rating" you can find almost anything positive or negative a person has had to say about a lawyer. That search would look something like "attorney John Q. Sample complaints" and brew a pot of coffee.
The thing to keep in mind here is that there are multiple ways for you to validate an attorney and you shouldn't rely on just one. That's one of the reasons we developed InlandEmpireLawyers.com, an attorney directory for San Bernardino and Riverside counties. We decided early on to link directly to all of these resources directly within an attorney's profile. This makes your process much more efficient because you can quickly access each of these websites for a local attorney without having to take the time to do the legwork on each website.
If you're an attorney what are your thoughts? Is there a better way than this to research a lawyer?
Choosing the Best Lawyer For Your Case
Let's face it... having to hire a lawyer sucks. That being said you need to make sure you find the best attorney that you can afford. Making matters worse is that the situation that brought you to the point that you need to hire a lawyer was most likely pretty terrible to begin with. How are you supposed to asses a quality lawyer when you may have never hired one before? It's not as easy as doing a Google search and hiring the first lawyer on page 1.
If you're like most people, you have no basis to compare a good attorney from a bad one. It's not like hiring a plumber where the result of their work is either the clog is gone or it's still there. You may not even know if you hired a good attorney until years down the road when a problem or issue with your case pops up. Here's a few tips to find the best lawyer for your unique situation:
Step 1: Get a Referral
It sounds so 20th century doesn't it? A great way to find the best attorney is to seek a reference from your friends, colleagues or family members. Chances are good that if they did well by them, they'll probably work out well for you too. Also, when a lawyer receives a referral from a former client, (or another attorney), they usually like to make sure they "go the extra mile" because they're always building their referral network.
Step 2: Research the Lawyer
Whether you found the attorney through a referral or not, you still need to perform due diligence by checking what other people's experience is with that particular lawyer. InlandEmpireLawyers.com makes this process easy by assembling our attorney profiles with links to each attorney's reviews: Yelp, Martindale-Hubble and AVVO. You should consider that lawyers can sometimes piss people off, just because you found a few negative reviews you should take that with a grain of salt. I've never met a lawyer with 100% client satisfaction... even if that's what Yelp says. They'll always have a client somewhere that thinks they could've done a better job, even if it was completely out of the attorney's control. In fact, I'll suggest that if your prospective attorney hasn't made someone mad along their career path maybe they aren't the fighter you're looking for? More on this here.
Step 3: Interview At Least 3 Lawyers
Although this probably sounds like pulling teeth, chances are your legal problem deserves more than one opinion. You probably look at 5-10 pairs of shoes before buying, this decision should at least deserve that level of attention and scrutiny. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, use that valuable time to answer their questions accurately and most importantly ask your own:
Whether you're dealing with a divorce, DUI or bankruptcy you should always hire the attorney that you feel will best represent your interest in court. You may be in for a long journey or a short story, but you need to make sure that your lawyer's goals are in line with your own. If you want the matter settled quickly and your attorney wants to take it to the Supreme Court you're going to be pushing and pulling against each other.
If you find a lawyer on InlandEmpireLawyers.com please make sure to tell them that you found them here!
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